Nissan is celebrating its 75th year of selling commercial vehicles in Japan, but the automaker's first production commercial van for the U.S. and Canadian markets will reach the marketplace later this year.
Debuting at the Work Truck Show in St. Louis, MO, in March, the 2011 Nissan NV (Nissan Van) was substantially influenced by the Titan full-size pickup.
"The NV uses its own platform, which was developed using the Titan platform as a springboard," said Satoru Ugawa, Nissan NV Chief Vehicle Engineer. Like the Titan frame, the NV frame is fully boxed and uses tube-through crossmembers in key locations.
"Based on the vehicle requirements for the NV—such as a longer wheelbase, higher payload, lower ingress and egress—we made the new frame longer, wider, lower in the rear, and the frame section height was increased. Additionally, to support ride comfort and handling targets, the crossmember configuration was modified to provide the required stiffness," explained Ugawa.
Nissan NV has a wheelbase of 146.1 in (371 cm), a length of 240.9 in (612 cm), and a width of 102.8 in (261 cm) with tow mirrors.
Available as NV1500, NV2500 HD, and NV3500 HD, the commercial vehicle will be powered by the 4.0-L V6 (the engine offered in the Pathfinder midsize SUV) or a 5.6-L V8 (the engine offered in the Titan). Horsepower and torque information will be announced closer to the NV's production launch. Both engines mate to a five-speed automatic transmission.
The 1500, 2500, and 3500 will be sold with a standard roof that provides a maximum cargo height of 55.4 in (141 cm), while the 2500 and 3500 HD models also will offer a high roof with a maximum 76.5-in (194-cm) cargo height.
Joe Castelli, Vice President of Commercial Vehicles and Fleet for Nissan North America said the NV is "one of the most researched projects ever in Nissan's history." Beginning in 2004, the NV planning team met with fleet owners, small business owners, aftermarket suppliers, and converters. NV team members also rode in competitive vehicles.
Consumer input influenced NV's design, including rear doors that open 243° (with stoppers on the vehicle sides), multiple weld-nut attachment points for installing racks and shelving systems, prewiring for up-fitters, near-vertical side walls, and flat-top rear interior wheel wells.
The rear-wheel-drive NV has an independent front suspension with stabilizer bar and a solid axle rear suspension with rigid leaf springs and stabilizer bar. NV is fitted with steel wheels and all-season tires.
Nissan invested $118 million to upgrade and expand the Canton, MS, plant for production of the new NV. According to Steve Parrett, Manufacturing Communications for Nissan North America, the renovation project includes a new phosphate and e-coat system to accommodate the NV's large body panels.
Workers at the Canton plant currently assemble the midsize Nissan Altima sedan, the full-size Titan pickup, the full-size Armada SUV, and the Infiniti QX56 luxury full-size SUV.
Production launch of the 2011 NV is slated for this fall.